EZBrite A ZeroWaste Manufacturer of 40 soaps in NEO

written on February 04, 2009 by Beau Daane

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Imagine a business with no dumpster for trash at the loading dock.  Imagine a process manufacturer with no drums or pallets stacked up outside behind its plant.  It must be a small one or two person office, not a manufacturer, right?  Wrong.  It is EZ Brite Brands, a Westlake, OH manufacturer of over 40 soaps and cleaning products that is fast approaching $1,000,000 in annual sales.  In the sustainability community, sometimes we forget how important the reduce and reuse parts of the reduce, reuse, recycle triad.  EZ Brite is a shining example of all three.

Seeing is believing.  On a recent tour with EZ Brite President and avid green entrepreneur, Ed Aghajanian, the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District witnessed how it works.  Wearing a suit and tie, Aghajanian is a radical with a vision.  "Why would I waste anything,"he says, "You wouldn't believe what our commercial neighbors throw out."  Many of the shelves in his plant were put together from left over building materials from a closet installation business next door.  He found some virgin polyethylene board stock from a local cutting board manufacturer and used it to build bases for several pieces of mixing equipment and pumps.  Blending tanks were bought locally from a company that would have scrapped them.  This purchase alone saved EZ Brite $12,000.  Aghajanian purchased five gently used high pressure pump transfer hoses originally valued at $450 each for a total of $50.  How's that for reusing! 

It certainly helps to have the President pushing your waste reduction efforts.  Ed's commitment is to find a home for all 'wastes.'  Packing popcorn from incoming shipments is stored and reused.  Employee gardeners take home coffee grinds for composting.  Office paper and beverage containers are recycled.  Leftover box cartons are reused as slip sheets for shipments or donated to a local nonprofit food redistribution operation to be reused for their shipments   Steel and poly drums are utilized for shipments to customers, or returned to distributors to be reused or scrapped.  All pallets are reused, unless broken in which case they are repaired or sent out to be ground up for mulch.  From the extent of EZ Brite's efficient reuse and lack of waste, you'd think that Ed grew up during the Great Depression, but he's much younger than that.  He just sees how silly and unprofitable our throw away culture has become.

Another advantage of zero waste is that you can’t hide mistakes.  EZ Brite does its own R&D work.  Without a dumpster, there is no where to hide your production mistakes.  But that's ok because Ed encourages trial and error and finds homes for the mistakes.  If a cleaner doesn't turn out just right, if it is 'off spec,' it may be donated to a local food kitchen, or given to a local landscaper who uses it to power wash decks.  Says Ed, "the key is to find an alternative use."

EZ Brite's commitment to zero waste extends beyond its own manufacturing to the kinds of packaging in which it sells products.  All products are sold in recyclable and refillable packaging.  Ed says he prefers to sell refills because it builds customer loyalty and reduces waste. 

All businesses could benefit from EZ Brite's model money-saving waste elimination, reuse and recycling practices.  It is time we all cleaned up our act.

EZ Brite is a zero-waste manufacturer of environmentally friendly specialty soaps and cleaners.  The products are made from natural minerals, including clay silicas, limestones, and pumices, natural food-grade salts and citric acids; and natural soaps blended with various vegetable oils, including tree oils, palm and coconut oils.  Their products and production methodology has always had a "green focus," but few consumers cared until recently, says Aghajanian.  "Now many are working towards becoming green.  We're thrilled they are catching on.  It has always been important to us."   EZ Brite is growing quickly and currently has 11 full time and part time employees.  For more information see www.ezbritebrands.com